Sable Island National Park Reserve is a remote island that is only accessible by air and by sea. Each method of transportation requires ideal conditions for a trip to occur. Delays and cancellations are common due to weather. Visitors are welcome from June to October.
All visitors must:
- Make their own transportation arrangements to and from Sable Island and be prepared for delays and cancellations.
- Register in advance of their trip. Please contact email@example.com for a visitor registration form if planning a trip by private charter or private vessel.
- Follow the biosecurity measures in place to protect Sable Island.
- Be prepared for a backcountry-like wilderness experience. Be self-reliant and responsible for their own safety.
Air service is provided by Sable Aviation (fixed wing airplane) and Vision Air (helicopter). Airplanes land on the beach as there are no permanent runways on the island. Helicopters land on a permanent helipad.
Below is a list of the operators who offer charter flights and group tours to Sable Island National Park Reserve during the visitor season (June to October). Visitor flights are limited, so plan well in advance! These experiences range in cost and passenger capacity.
A note about private charters: Groups chartering an aircraft must register in advance with Parks Canada using a visitor request form. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a visitor request form. Contact the transportation provider for a quote and to check availability before submitting the visitor request form to Parks Canada.
Sable Aviation (fixed-wing airplane)
Vision Air (helicopter)
Arriving by sea is a time-honoured way to experience Sable Island and connect with its long and rich maritime history. Sable Island National Park Reserve welcomes visitors by sea from around the world between early June and late October. Start planning your visit by sea as part of a larger expedition cruise or sailing with a small crew on a private vessel.
A note about private vessels: All visitors arriving by sea in a private vessel must register in advance with Parks Canada using a visitor request form. Please contact email@example.com to obtain a visitor request form.
Critical guidelines for safe landing
If you are in charge of a vessel, the following guidelines are critical for a safe landing. The possibility of heavy fog, shifting sandbars, and rough seas in the waters around Sable Island can pose challenges to boat access. There are no wharf facilities or mooring buoys on Sable Island, and vessels must anchor offshore and have a zodiac or other small boat suitable for a beach landing.
- Before departing the mainland: Vessels should contact the Parks Canada Operations Coordinator at 902-492-4678 to ensure we are aware of your itinerary and you are informed of activities or conditions on the island or offshore that may affect your plans.
- Visitors arriving by sea are responsible for their safe arrival and departure from the island. Parks Canada has limited capabilities on the island to assist in a marine rescue or emergency.
- When within 10 nautical miles of the island: Vessels should contact the island on Marine Radio Channel 8 or 16 to confirm their safe arrival and to obtain any special instructions.
- Vessels must anchor off the north side of the island, opposite the Main Station – at longitude 60.01W. There are submerged sand bars off the beach, and vessels should maintain their distance – 500 meters is usually sufficient, although there are times small boats are able to approach within 200 meters. A zodiac or small boat is required to get ashore and make a beach landing.
- When anchored: Vessels should contact Sable Island on Marine Radio Channel 8 or 16 to advise when they are anchored. The Operations Coordinator can file or close sailing plans as required.
- Landing: Visitors must not attempt to land on the beach until Parks Canada personnel are in position to greet them upon arrival and to provide an orientation and safety briefing.
- Changing conditions may make it hard for a small boat to land or depart from the island, so sailors should be extremely careful about coming through the surf zone, and should have experience in managing beach landings in rough surf.
- Communications: When coming ashore, boat passengers must have a VHF radio and maintain communications with the beach party on Marine Channel 8.
- All boat passengers must have life jackets for beach landings, and zodiacs or small boats must not be overloaded beyond manufacturer’s recommended carrying capacity.
Delays and cancellations can be caused by poor weather or the lack of a safe landing area. Normal delays might last a day or two, although significantly longer delays are possible. Poor weather and beach conditions could prohibit departure or landing of an aircraft or small boat for several days.
- All visitors must be prepared for delays and cancellations, both when attempting to travel to the island and when attempting to depart.
- All visitors must ensure they have adequate supplies, including any prescribed medication, to accommodate unplanned delays.
- In the event of unplanned overnight stay on Sable Island, standard fees apply for accommodation and emergency food rations.
Contact our Visitor Experience Coordinator for more information about planning your trip: